Tuesday 11 December 2018

Live Illustration In-store At White Stuff Manchester

Last Saturday I hosted a popup instore at the gorgeous White Stuff shop on one of Manchester's busies Christmas market streets; selling my illustrations, cards and books and creating live portraits and illustrations for the customers!

It was a really great day spent painting and meeting excited Christmas shoppers and a few people who had come over just to meet me!

It was a lovely change of location for me, nestled between beautifully printed dresses and Christmas gifts, and it was such a joy to meet so many fantastic people curious about my illustration work!

I love being booked to create live illustration instore and for events, it's such an exciting opportunity, and it's so ridiculously heartwarming to see how much people treasure the portraits or illustrations I paint for them in front of their eyes! In the past I've illustrated live at events like National Freelancer's Day and instore at House of Fraser. You can find out more about booking live illustration for instore events and weddings over on my website!

Monday 3 December 2018

Goof Comic Christmas Special

Okay, so we're in December now and I will officially allow myself to write Christmas blog posts (ignoring the fact I sometimes need to illustrate Christmas cards in July!). So, hear ye, hear ye: the Goof Comic Christmas Special is OUT TODAY!

This issue marks six months of Goof Comic, and six months of my Nona The Ninth stories! It's been such a joy to write and illustrate Nona's stories over the last half-year, and I have a sketchbook full of notes for more fun stories coming up. As an extra special treat, this month's Nona is a two-page story too!

Goof Comic is available through www.goofcomic.co.uk with a year's subscription (including all back-issues) for £12 - so just £1 a month. I can't even say "the price of a coffee each month" anymore, because, well, coffees are about £5 a pop now - so let's say...for the price of a thermal shoe insole from poundland you can get access to a Christmas stocking full of fun all-ages comics from amazing creators! The subscription fees go back to the creators too, so you can get that warm-mince-pie-like feeling of niceness in your tum knowing you're supporting independent comic makers this Christmas :)

Here's a few sneakpeeks from this month's issue:

Top to bottom: Marc Jackson's Goof Issue #5 cover, Clara Soriano's Bad Baba, Lew Stringer's Derek The Troll, Tor Freeman's Spells In The Forest. (Plus Nona The Ninth #6 the very top!).

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Autumn Colour Palette Inspiration

Autumn is by far my favourite time of year; the town I live in just turns into a giant colour palette of my favourite tones and I get to wrap up in cosy coats and scarves (who am I kidding, I wear scarves all year round!). 

My photo reel is full of snaps of gorgeous yellow ochre leaves, bright orange pumpkins and firey-coloured woodland. These colour collections definitely find themselves spilling over into my illustration work throughout the year! 

A few weeks ago, I went to Somerset for a friend's wedding and popped into Barrington Court National Trust garden and found this INCREDIBLE pumpkin patch! I think I actually squealed out load when I saw it!

Colours often take on a bit of a different look when they're isolated from photos and used in illustration, so I worked with an interpretation of a few of my favourite tones from the photos to collect them into this quick, leafy illustration for future colour palette inspiration! 

Happy Autumn!

Saturday 3 November 2018

Illustration Talk, Q&A and Workshop for the Artist Talks series in Guildford

Last week I expanded my map and travelled down to Guildford in Surrey to kick off the first in a series of Artist Talks run at The Boileroom. Fellow illustrator Andrew Thomson invited me down to speak about my illustration career, answer insightful questions, and run a drawing workshop for an audience of wonderful, creative people!

It was so great to spend time talking honestly about my career in the creative industries, show some of my secret projects, give an in-depth step-by-step look into my illustration process, and chatting about useful tips for turning creativity into a career.

A few slides from the presentation:

 As my talk was the first in a series (the line-up to come is stellar by the way!), and the audience were all different levels of ability - from people who just enjoy art on the side, to fully fledged creative industry veterans - I wanted to make the workshop inclusive and fun for everybody. I chose to base the workshop on one of my favourite warm-up challenges: blind contour drawing!

Blind contour drawing is basically just drawing the subject in front of you without looking at your paper (at all!). This often leads to hilariously squished-up or skewed drawings, which is especially funny when you're drawing your friend right in front of them! I started the workshop off with some examples of blind contour drawings I've done of some interesting celebrities, before working with the audience to move on to drawing their own celebrities and each other!

The workshop then moved on to the optional challenge of using some of the character design and editorial process I'd spoken about in the presentation to illustrate a wonderful poem based around the idea of learning to unlearn. There were really lovely interpretations of the poem!

It was such a great event. We had people crying with laughter, and creating some amazing (and fun!) drawings! It was such a pleasure to meet so many enthusiastic, welcoming and creative people, in such a beautiful town. So many people left the talk with huge smiles on their faces - I couldn't ask for more than that!

On the way home, I spent some time exploring Guildford (I even dragged my suitcase up the steep hill to catch a glimpse of the castle, I LOVE a good castle!). I also popped in to London to visit some of my very best friends too (we have drawn A LOT of blind contour drawings of each other  over the years haha)!

Thanks so much to the Artist Talks Series and The Boileroom for having me! If you'd like to take a look at my other workshop availability you can pop over to my website or drop me an email.

Monday 22 October 2018

A bit of personal news: we got engaged!

I'm really excited to share a little bit of personal news with you this week - Andrew Jolly and I got engaged! 

There was a treasure hunt, puzzles, surprise, and I cried my little eyes out! I was in Moomin pajamas the whole time too haha. We've been together nearly a decade already, and I'm so excited to plan a wedding and spend even more time with this wonderful human. 

Saturday 20 October 2018

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2018

What a brilliant (but incredibly rainy) weekend we had at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival again this year. The event is honestly one of the friendliest and cosy-feeling comic conventions I have attended, and I was thrilled to have been invited back again this year.

It was such a joy to meet so many people so enthusiastic about comics, as well as a few who were attending the festival as their first steps into the world of comics (including the incredibly sweet woman who asked if it was a convention for stand-up comedians!).

The festival marked the official launch of my new comic 'First Signs Of Spring'. It was really heartwarming to see so many people excited to buy a copy (someone even said they only came to the festival to buy one!) - I almost sold out on the first weekend! Luckily, I'm restocked now and you can find out more about the comic over in my Etsy shop. It has free shipping at the moment!

One of the nicest things about comic conventions is having the chance to spend time with comics-industry friends from far and wide, and I had an amazing weekend catching up with Jessica Lucas, Marc Jackson, Emma Vieceli, Ellie Crewes and meeting new friends like Gary Spencer Millidge and table-neighbour Rachel Findlay to name just a few! It's all a bit hush-hush, but we visited a speakeasy, and as the exact opposite of hush-hush saw Marc's band The Dopes (if you ever fancy listening to raps about sandwiches, they're the band for you!).

LICAF is such a wonderful festival. There's a really nice atmosphere around it, and you can tell that everyone attending just really appreciate that it exists (seriously, people braved some of the most ridiculous storms I've seen to come and see our comics! They're a dedicated lot!). 

I can't wait to come back another year!

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Emmeline Illustration Event! Artist Talk Series: Talk, Q&A and Workshop at The Boileroom!

I'm really excited to be doing a talk, Q&A AND workshop at The Boileroom, Guildford next month! The talk is the first session of the Artist Talk Series run by Andrew Thomson - and all profit goes back into community arts events!

I'll be talking about my illustration projects, comics, behind-the-scenes life of an illustrator, going freelance and more! Plus your chance to ask me anything (or nearly anything!) and learn a few tricks in a little workshop.

See you there! October 25th, 7:30pm. Tickets are £10.  https://www.artisttalks.co.uk/

Thursday 2 August 2018

Travelling With My Sketchbook: Illustration In The Wild!

You'll pretty much always find me with a sketchbook in my bag. I never know when I might get a flash of inspiration I need to note down, a tiny moment to sketch, or I get stuck at an airport for four hours waiting for a delayed flight (happened last week!). Mostly, I like to use my sketchbook as a way to record my travels and hone my memories of lovely places and moments I have experienced. I think it's just those extra minutes spent really studying that view, the consideration of that person's stance, or noticing the little details, which really help crystallise your memories. 

In July I ventured out of the studio to both 2000 Trees festival in Cheltenham, and then over to Northern Ireland. I was lonnnng overdue a holiday, so it was great to get a bit of sunshine and have a good, revitalising, break from work. 

So Andrew actually won a ticket to 2000 Trees in a competition, and even with limited knowledge of the lineup, I went too and had an amazing time! You'll have to forgive my very muddy little hands in these photos, camping at a four day festival does not for sparkling clean hands make (that and I'd just been sitting on the dusty floor in the forest!). I managed to squeeze in a couple of quick sketches between bands, and I think they capture a bit of the flavour of the festival.

At the end of July, I headed over to the top coast of Northern Ireland for a week exploring beautiful historical places and gorgeous scenery. Honestly, the trip was so jam packed with amazing places to see and important history to learn. We visited castles, cities, GOT filming locations, beaches, breweries...I'm still unpacking all my memories and the information I took in (as well as my clothes). I actually brought my whole watercolour set over with me, but after one failed attempt to paint on the beach I gave up and stuck to ink and pencil (a huge gust of wind covered my paint-set with sand and I nearly screeched 'MY KUREKATE'). 

I spent time sketching in some of my favourite places I visited - Dunluce Castle, Belfast, Portstewart Beach... We actually stayed really close to the Giant's Causeway (near enough that I ended up visiting three times!), but unfortunately I couldn't squeeze in the time to draw all of those magnificent columns (geology rules). I'll hopefully come back one day. 

So, next time you're heading off on holiday, I really recommend throwing a little sketchbook and pen into your suitcase - I can so perfectly recall the sights, sounds, smells and the feel of the ground in all those locations I sketched in. One day I'd love to go on a pure travel sketching adventure! I'll keep you posted...

Happy travels!

Illustrating 'The No More Bulling Book For Kids' - New Book News!

Hey everyone! I'm really excited to finally share the new book I've illustrated - which is out right now! The No More Bullying Book For Kids is written by Vanessa Green Allen, and it was a joy to work with the team at Rockridge Press and Callisto Media to create the illustrations for this important (and charming) book.

The book aims to help young people and their parents through the horrible experiences of a wide range of bullying. Having been through some of these things when I was younger, I wanted to channel that and show strong young characters to help encourage anyone who's going through this right now - it's really tough, and there's no one cure-all solution, but knowing that other people come through the other side happy and healthy can be useful. The book's full of encouraging tips and acts as a really great break down of a complicated and sensitive subject.

Visually, the illustrations in the book were made completely digitally, using a simple, cheerful, limited colour palette using some of my favourite colours to draw with. I loved creating the cast of characters for the book, they seem like such a great bunch of kids! I have to say I wish I had the outfit of the girl in the title page illustration (I always seem to end up drawing a wardrobe I wish I had!). 

The roughs stage for this book was really fun - a clear brief from the client, but room to experiment and bring ideas to the table (the best kind of brief!). I enjoyed working up alternate ideas in greyscale, especially with the 'Stop Bullies' illustration where I got to draw a tough-girl / dragon face-off! I'll be posting more of the prep and sketch work on my soon-to-launch Patreon page, so keep an eye out for that!

The book is out right now! You can find The No More Bullying Book For Kids on Amazon in the UK and over here in the USA: http://bit.ly/NoMoreBullyingBook_ForKids


USA Book Giveaway!

If you're in America you can also grab the chance to WIN a copy of the book over on my Twitter, Instagram, and/or by leaving a comment on this blog post before Friday next week! Winners will be drawn at 9am EDT on Friday 10th August (that's 2pm Friday in GMT)! Notes on the giveaway are below!

Giveaway rules -

For entry on Twitter, see this post

For entry on Instagram head here

For entry on this blog, please just leave a comment!

Feel free to enter all three ways!

USA only I'm afraid, as the publishers will be sending the prize out. When the winner is chosen (randomly) and announced I'll do my best to get in touch with them, then will pass their address on to the publisher to send the prize. I won't use or store your address for anything else. Competition runs from Thurs 2nd August to Friday 10th August. 

Pass it on! I appreciate all the support. Any questions, just ask! 

Tuesday 31 July 2018

Live Portrait Illustration at National Freelancers Day 2018

Just over a month ago, I was invited to London to appear in the IPSE Freelancer's showcase and illustrate live portraits for National Freelancers Day! IPSE's NFD event took place in the beautiful King's Place venue, and I set up in a gorgeous room overlooking the canal.

This was my fourth time at a National Freelancer's event, and after winning National Freelancer of the Year in 2016, I got to see the title passed on to the lovely Iona Bain in the freelancer awards this year! Harvey Morton took home the young freelancer of the year award (and, inspiringly, mentioned he'd use his prize money to hire a local apprentice), Chris Pipe won the New To Freelancing award, and the lovely Faye Dicker of Freelance Mum won Ambassador of the Year. I have to say watching this year's awards was a little more relaxing than it had been the last couple of years with being up for the award in 2016, and being on the judging panel last year! It was great to catch up with so many of the familiar freelance faces I've got to know over the years, and say hello to so many new ones.

Before the awards ceremony, I spent the day illustrating portraits for the event guests. It was so inspiring to get to chat with freelancers from such a variety of fields (also note me pulling out my multi-tasking skills there to hold conversation, paint portraits and be filmed at the same time!). Attendees got to take home their portrait as a memento of the event, and we sold out of timeslots in minutes! I also had an adjoining table selling my illustrated prints, books and comics - as well as a limited edition set of 20 freelancing print made exclusively for National Freelancers Day (these are £5 and there are only a couple of these left for sale if you fancy one, get in touch!).

If you're interested in booking me to create live portraiture for your event, please get in touch or read more on my website!

Thanks again to the lovely team at IPSE for inviting me down, and the wonderful Nisha Haq for a bundleful of these photos ♡

Monday 30 July 2018

Happy 80th Birthday to The Beano Comic!

A little love letter to The Beano comic on their 80th birthday! I think the image says it all, really, but it's been great for me to follow the threads of inspiration throughout my life from my childhood favourites, to the work I'm creating today. Here's hoping that the children's comics I'm creating, like Nona The Ninth for Goof comic, help inspire some other excitable little girl whose damp hair smells of chlorine, but is absolutely beaming after spending her pocket money on comics. 

Thursday 19 July 2018

Nona The Ninth for Goof Comic launch

Well pals, it is a TREAT to share this with you: I'm officially creating a monthly story for Goof! comic!

My comic is called ' Nona The Ninth ' and features a strong, young lead character called Nona who is an aspiring scientist in Victorian era England. She's also the youngest of nine siblings (hence the name Nona, which is a classic Latin name meaning ninth!). So expect lots of experiments, family drama and silly mishaps, with the added important bonus of encouraging young girls' interest in science! Nona's bloomin' cool, and I can't wait to share her story with you all.

Nona The Ninth is all created digitally, with tonal colour backgrounds, no panel outlines, and a big emphasis on simple linework and a lot of expression. Right now I'm planning my first year's worth of story (issue 2 has just been sent off!), and I'm having a lot of fun delving into characters, researching Victorian times (ugh I love a bit of historical context) and finding fun experiments for kids!

Goof! is a monthly digital comic for all-ages, featuring over thirty amazing comics creators from around the world, each with one or two page comics hitting your inbox each month! So that's, like, a lot of great comics. You'll find amazing stories by comic creators like Lew Stringer, Tor Freeman, Ken Niimura, Dick Vincent, Andrea Bell, Jess Smart Smiley, Genie Espinosa and of course Goof!-father Marc Jackson (plus loads more!). The comic is subscription based, and a ridiculous-bargain at £1 per issue.

Goof! launched at Macc-Pow comic festival, where I was lucky enough to be invited along as a guest (meaning I also ended up taking part in an event where I had to draw with my eyes closed)! We grabbed this snap of as many of us as possible on launch day (thanks to Richard Buck for that). They're such an amazing group of people, and I'm so excited to be part of this comic!

SO if you (or your kids, or your mum, or that cool person you sat next to on the train) fancy finding out more about Nona, or any of the other Goof! stories, you can head to https://www.goofcomic.co.uk/about and sign up for a year's subscription sent each month (£12, so each issue is £1!) at https://www.goofcomic.co.uk/register All of the subscription money gets split between the creators, so it means a lot! We've had loads of amazing feedback from kids to comic-reviewers, so don't be shy!

Look out for more Nona sneak peeks coming soon 💛